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Governor signs UPA policy language (new law)

Published (5/16/2008)
By Mike Cook
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With the signing of his name May 11, Gov. Tim Pawlenty has ensured $133.3 million in federal money for a project expected to help with traffic congestion between downtown Minneapolis and the southern suburbs.

Sponsored by Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Mpls) and Sen. Ann Rest (DFL-New Hope), the policy law provides authority and makes conforming changes related to the Urban Partnership Agreement, a federal program providing money to help reduce traffic congestion in parts of the Twin Cities metropolitan area.

For example, the law, effective May 12, 2008, allows user fees on high-occupancy vehicle lanes similar to those now available on Interstate 394, modifies shoulder use by busses and requires an annual legislative report.

According to the Department of Transportation, the plan includes:

the use of priced dynamic shoulder lanes on Interstate 35W from 46th Street to downtown Minneapolis;

the addition of a high-occupancy toll lane from 66th Street to 46th Street;

conversion of the high-occupancy vehicle lane to a high-occupancy toll lane on I-35W from 66th Street to Burnsville Parkway; and

expanding Cedar Avenue Bus Rapid Transit between downtown Minneapolis and Lakeville ahead of the current schedule.

The $49 million state match comes from a couple of different means already passed this session. Minnesota would have risked losing the federal dollars had the law not been signed by May 12.

HF3725/SF3058*/CH306

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